Social Branding

Paris St. Germain is willing to pay $18 Million for David Beckham. What they expect from him? It is not just what Beckham can do on the field that attracts the Paris St. Germain, among others, but what Brand Beckham can do off it.

David Beckham signed one of the largest endorsement deals in professional sports, a $160.8 million lifetime deal with Adidas.

So when you think of David Beckham…you automatically think of Adidas. My team member Anika already touched the topic of branding a little and I would like to extend this a bit and concentrate on Social Branding.

New Possibilities

Through social media the possibilities for athletes to market themselves has expanded far over the classical marketing tools of television, radios and magazines. The goal is to emotionalize the fans and create relationships which results in growth of the personal brand, claims Jonathan Müller in an interview on

The more fans the larger the attention for the brand and this can also be utterly beneficial for the clubs they play or compete for. The integration of a well branded athlete into a poorly branded club can increase the clubs attention and the integration of a well branded player into a well branded club can result in a even larger brand.

The Cycle of Branding

The biggest brand gets the best sponsoring contracts which results in an even greater coverage on media and social media channels. Sponsors even tend to ask how many followers athletes have on Facebook or twitter to make sure to achieve the greatest possible benefit, says Jonathan Müller during the interview. So they reward the athletes for creating a large fan base around themselves.

According to Katie Morston the most important points to good personal branding are authenticity, brand differentiation, networking and in the case of athletes being a part of a team the team aspect.

New doors open

Many new doors to branding open an example being crowd-sourcing, where young talented athletes are scouted over the internet, for example video channels like YouTube or even personal scouting sites like the sports lab of the 1. FC Köln.

My opinion

I think social branding is a great chance for young athletes to present and promote themselves. They are no longer dependent on television or radio channels and they can simply upload their videos onto YouTube…you never know perhaps they will be discovered and become the next new star.

Despite that I believe the cycle of branding, with the most popular getting the deal and becoming even more popular, is rather important for the Marketing world. Or why would adidas give David Beckham a life-time contract?

Nevertheless there will always be a demand for young and fresh talents that grew up in the world of social branding and social media.

Leave a comment


  1. HannahJulianeVeronika

     /  2012/01/10

    Hi Mirja,

    your way of explaining the symbiosis between companies and athletes in a world in which marketing has become so important.

    It’s great that you connected your post to Alina’s post, and the example of David Beckham and Adidas is is just perfect to idea of how this relationship looks like.

    I think another good example for such a realtionship is Nike and Michael Jordan. In Naomi Klein’s book No Logo! the author describes how Michael Jordan was hired by Nike in the first place. However over time the brand and his other business activities as an entrepreneur Michael Jordan became so immense that it became a problem for Nike. It seemed that they were supprting his marketing campaign and not the other way round and he also had interests that were hard to combine with Nike’s.

  2. Hey mirja! Very nice post! You mentioned a lot of aspects, I wasn’t aware of before and I like the way you reflected the whole situation at the end of your post. But are there also disadvantages of social branding? And do you believe that social branding could exist if (something like) facebook didn’t subsist?
    Structure-wise, I like your language and the choice of paragraphs and linking words, which make your text very enjoyable to read.
    Just one thing: at the moment your post is in a category that’s called “uncategorized”, I don’t think that’s intended 😉

  3. Larissa

     /  2012/01/15

    Hi Mirja,
    you spotted a very interesting trend that being an athlete is not only about performing well anymore! And most importantly, you found a way to make a sports topic be relevant to all of us, not only to sports aficionados.
    The David Beckham example is well-chosen: It raises interest and prepares for your further explanation. I also like your conclusion, in which you considered all aspects. That’s why I think that you could dare to give that section a more controverse/original title than “My opininon”.
    By the way: You might be interested in having a look at Nike. If you compare those too brands, you’ll find huge differences, especially with regard to brand sympathy! Has social branding something to do with it?

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